Re: St. John Chrysostom on Salvation by Faith Alone?
Thanks for the quotes. I will have to mull over them some more. It
definitely seems like the Orthodox teaching is that while it is true
we are saved by God's grace, at the same time our "virtues" and free-
will come into play in our salvation as well, which I'm finding
difficult reconciling with Eph. 2:8-9:
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithand this not
from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one
If God chooses some based on their worthiness, virtues, or fore-
knowing that they would accept Him, then it would appear that, in
some manner, there would be room for boasting as to why they were
chosen to be saved and others weren't.
--- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, randall hay
> I would say Anastasia wrote a wonderful paragraph about how we are
> saved only by grace....in mathematical terms, to quote Bp Kallistos
> Ware, we contribute 0%. In his commentary on Romans, St. John
> Chrysostom puts it beautifully: "To give thee the crown in His;
> is thine to hold it fast when it is given." (Homily 13, p. 433.a
> Please note that the website has an index to find the passage from
> page in the actual book.)of
> However, that being said, why isn't everybody saved? Not because
> whimsical predestination. Rather, God foresees those whose willhas a little
> spark to follow Him. Yes, the Orthodox believe in free will...whenwe
> Jesus took a complete human nature, He made its will (along with
> everything else human) capable of conforming itself to God.
> Hence "predestination" is based on foreknowledge of what our free
> wills choose. But neither our faith nor works count for anything;
> must ascribe all to Him. He gives us the crown, we must holdit.
> I'll paste some passages from his writings below, if that helps.
> One thing is that Chrysostom is not so terribly focused on the act
> justification in particular....since neither is Scripture. It'sthere,
> certainly, but what we should do after baptism and renouncingSatan is
> a great part of it.chosen
> In Christ,
> from Homily 16
> ...This was a sign of foreknowledge, that [Jacob and Esau] were
> from the very birth. That the election made according toforeknowledge,
> might be manifestly of God, from the first day He at once saw andof
> proclaimed which was good and which not...
> He that knoweth how to assay the soul, knoweth which is worthy
> being saved. Yield then to the incomprehensibleness of theelection.
> For it is He alone Who knoweth how to crown aright. How many, forof
> instance, seemed better than St. Matthew; to go by the exhibition
> works then visible. But He that knoweth things undeclared, and isable
> to assay the mind's aptitude, knew the pearl though lying in themire,
> and after passing by others, and being well pleased with thebeauty of
> this, He elected it, and by adding to the noble born free-willgrace
> from Himself, He made it approved. For if in the case of these artsgood
> which are perishable, and indeed in other matters, those that are
> judges do not use the grounds on which the uninstructed form theirpoints
> decision, in selecting out of what is put before them; but from
> which they are themselves well aware of, they many times disparagethat
> which the uninstructed approve, and decide upon what theydisparage...
> For it is not a mere exhibition of works that God searchethafter,
> but a nobleness of choice and an obedient temper (gnomie)besides...
> "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will haveobserve
> compassion on whom I will have compassion." (Ex. xxxiii. 19:
> context.) For it is not thine to know, O Moses, he means, which areMoses had
> deserving of My love toward man, but leave this to Me. But if
> no right to know, much less have we" (p. 466).God?"
> Ver. 20. "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against
> This he does to take down the objector's unseasonableit,
> inquisitiveness, and excessive curiosity, and to put a check upon
> and teach him to know what God is, and what man, and howreason,
> incomprehensible His foreknowledge is, and how far above our
> and how obedience to Him in all points is binding.but to
> Here it is not to do away with free-will that he says this,
> show, up to what point we ought to obey God. For in respect ofcalling
> God to account, we ought to be as little disposed to it as theclay is.
> For we ought to abstain not from gainsaying or questioning only,but
> even from speaking or thinking of it at all, and to become likethat
> lifeless matter, which followeth the potter's hands, and letsitself be
> drawn about anywhere he may please. And this is the only point hethe
> applied the illustration to, not, that is, to any enunciation of
> rule of life, but to the complete obedience and silence enforcedupon
> And this we ought to observe in all cases, that we are not to
> the illustrations quite entire, but after selecting the good ofthem,
> and that for which they were introduced, to let the rest alone.As, for
> instance, when he says, "He couched, he lay down as a lion;" (Numb.again,
> xxiv. 9) let us take out the indomitable and fearful part, not the
> brutality, nor any other of the things belonging to a lion. And
> when He says, "I will meet them as a bereaved bear" (Hos. xiii.8), let
> us take the vindictiveness. And when he says, "our God is aconsuming
> fire" (Deut. iv. 24; and Heb. xii. 29), the wasting power exertedin
> punishing (p. 467).the
> And when he does go on to say, "Hath not the potter power over
> clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and anotherunto
> dishonor?" do not suppose that this is said by Paul as an accountof
> the creation, nor as implying a necessity over the will, but towe
> illustrate the sovereignty and difference of dispensations; for if
> do not take it in this way, divers incongruities will follow, forif
> here he were speaking about the will, and those who are good andthose
> not so, He will be Himself the Maker of these, and man will be freeshown to
> from all responsibility. And at this rate, Paul will also be
> be at variance with himself, as he always bestows chief honor uponfree
> choice. There is nothing else then which he here wishes to do,save to
> persuade the hearer to yield entirely to God, and at no time tocall
> Him to account for anything whatever.bring
> "He endured him with much long-suffering," being willing to
> him to repentance. For had He not willed this, then He would nothave
> been thus long-suffering. But as he would not use the long-suffering in
> order to repentance, but fully fitted himself for wrath, He usedhim
> for the correction of others, through the punishment inflictedupon him
> making them better, and in this way setting forth His power. Forthat
> it is not God's wish that His power be so made known, but inanother
> way, by His benefits, namely, and kindnesses, he had shown abovein all
> possible ways.does
> But in saying, "which He had afore prepared unto glory," he
> not mean that all is God's doing. Since if this were so, there werethat
> nothing to hinder all men from being saved. But he is setting forth
> again His foreknowledge (p. 468)...
> ...When he says, "it is not of him that willeth, nor of him
> runneth," he does not deprive us of free-will, but shows that allis
> not one's own, for that it requires grace from above. For it isbinding
> on us to will, and also to run: but to confide not in our ownlabors,
> but in the love of God toward man.their
> Whence then are some vessels of wrath, and some of mercy? Of
> own free choice. God, however, being very good, shows the samekindness
> to both. For it was not those in a state of salvation only to whomHe
> showed mercy, but also Pharaoh, as far as His part went (p. 469).when
> Why then are you troubled, as though the promise had failed,
> all the Prophets show that it is not all that are to be saved (p.470)?
> Ver. 32. "Because they sought it not by faith, but as it wereby the works of the Law."
> This is the clearest answer in the passage, which if he had saidhearing.
> immediately upon starting, he would not have gained so easy a
> But since it is after many perplexities, and preparations, andalso
> demonstrations that he sets it down, and after using countless
> preparatory steps, he has at last made it more intelligible, and
> more easily admitted. For this he says is the cause of theirworks
> destruction: "Because it was not by faith, but as it were by the
> of the Law," that they wished to be justified (p. 471).that it
> From Homily 18
> Ver. 5. "Even so then at this present time also, there is a
> remnant according to the election of grace." For he shows here
> is the worthy that God useth to save even if the promise be madeto the
> whole nation.saying grace, he showed the gift of God (p. 483).
> ...By saying election, he showed the approval of them, but by
> from Homily 1
> That you may not then, when you hear that "He hath chosen us,"
> that faith alone is sufficient, he proceeds to add life andconduct. To
> this end, saith he, hath He chosen us, and on thiscondition, "that we
> should be holy and without blemish" (p. 51).hath
> For by all means would he have chosen those who were approved. He
> Himself rendered us holy, but then we must continue holy (p. 51).not
> "In love," saith he, "having predestinated us." Because this comes
> of any pains, nor of any good works of ours, but of love; and yetnot
> of love alone, but of our virtue also. For if indeed of lovealone, it
> would follow that all must be saved; whereas again were it theresult
> of our virtue alone, then were His coming needless, and the wholeyet
> dispensation. But it is the result neither of His love alone, nor
> of our virtue, but of both. "He chose us," saith the Apostle; andHe
> that chooseth, knoweth what it is that He chooseth. "In love," headds,
> "having foreordained us;" for virtue would never have saved anyone,
> had there not been love. For tell me, what would Paul haveprofited,
> how would he have exhibited what he has exhibited, if God had notboth
> called him from the beginning, and, in that He loved him, drawnhim to
> Himself? But besides, His vouchsafing us so great privileges, wasthe
> effect of His love, not of our virtue. Because our being renderedwas
> virtuous, and believing, and coming nigh unto Him, even this again
> the work of Him that called us Himself, and yet, notwithstanding,it is
> ours also (pp. 51-2).without
> Do you observe how that nothing is done without Christ? Nothing
> the Father? The one hath predestinated, the other hath brought usnear
> (p. 52).will."
> Ver. 5. "According to the good pleasure," he continues, "of His
> That is to say, because He earnestly willed it. This is, as onefor
> might say, His earnest desire. For the word "good pleasure" every
> where means the precedent will, for there is also another will. As
> example, the first will is that sinners should not perish; thesecond
> will is, that, if men become wicked, they shall perish. For surelyit
> is not by necessity that He punishes them, but because He wills it(p.
> ...He points out the origination, the purpose, the will, the first
> intention, as proceeding from the Father, and the fulfillment and
> execution as effected by the agency of the Son...
> Just in the very beginning of the Epistle, he used the
> "through the will of the Father." The Father, he means, willed,the Son
> wrought. But neither does it follow, that because the Fatherwilled,
> the Son is excluded from the willing; nor because the Son wrought,that
> the Father is deprived of the working. But to the Father and theSon,
> all things are common. "For all Mine are Thine," saith He, "andThine
> are Mine." (John xvii. 10.)Salvation by Faith Alone?
> From: solascriptura1971 <email@example.com>
> To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
> Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2008 1:48:17 AM
> Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Re: St. John Chrysostom on
> Now both of these paragraphs looks "Lutheran" to me. Maybe I'm
> --- In LutheransLookingEas t@yahoogroups. com, "Anastasia
> <anastasiatheo01@ ...> wrote:He
> > Another way to say it might be that God doesn't save us *in
> response* to either our works or our faith. He saves us because
> wills to save us, period - without first being (or needing to be)can
> impressed or won over by anything about us. There is no way we
> influence Him to save us, because He already wills to do it, fromrelationship
> before He ever created us. Because He LOVES us.
> > But He saves us in and through our active faith-based
> to Him. By faith we believe. By faith we commit ourselves toHim.
> By faith we take up our crosses and follow Him. By faith live, byto
> faith we die, by faith we know that we shall rise again. Faith is
> what makes the unseen things (e.g., general resurrection) evident
> us, and the things hoped for, already present to us. Faith istheir
> (current) hypostasis, or being.
> > Anastasia
> > e-mail: anastasiatheo01@ ...
> > blog: http://anastasias- corner.blogspot. com
> > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- Bobby, I recalled a couple of questions you'd had, then looked back and found them in this e-mail.
Orthodox believe that the sacraments and the gospel are generally necessary for salvation.
We see grace as God coming to us Himself, not something created He gives us (as Catholics believe; you hear them speak of "getting graces"). We see that outpouring of Himself as union with Him, the greatest goal and joy of His creatures. It is His good pleasure to give us that blessing.
Of course, if you are not able to receive the sacraments (perhaps you die before you are able), or if you are not able to intellectually receive the gospel (for example, babies, retarded people or demented elderly) that is an exception. God doesn't hold it against you if are unable.
I might add that the piety associated with the sacraments is quite high. For example, all ORthodox are encouraged to say a set of prayers that takes at least an hour before receiving Communion, and must fast from midnight (except for medical reasons) and have confessed "recently."
If any of His blood is spilled on the floor during liturgy, it is burned. If it spills on a rug the rug is burned; if it spills on tile, you pour a bit of alcohol on and burn it, saying prayers. (Normally you don't give Communion over a carpet for obvious reasons!) No one but a priest, deacon or bishop may touch the altar at any time. We subdeacons are rarely able to touch an object that is sitting on the altar. If you have any sins against anyone on your conscience, you must apologize to the person before receiving Eucharist.
In baptism you are exorcised, the water is exorcised, and you literally (not figuratively) spit on the devil. You wear a baptismal garment at services then for 40 days, at least in Slavic tradition.
There are frequent references in Scripture to the "energies" of God. (The Greek term is "energeia.") Comes up something like 40 times in the New Testament, as I recall. This is GOd present in dealing with His creation. It is not His essence, which is incomprehensible, but His actions toward us; how He reveals Himself to His creatures.
We humans have energies, too. Our body/soul/spirit is our essence; how we move and think and interact with people and things, what we do, is our "energies."
Roman Catholics hold that God's energies, like His graces, are created things. We ORthodox believe that He Himself is wholly present in His energies; He deals with His creation very directly and personally.
"As Thou, Father, art in me," Jesus says, "and I in Thee," He prays "that they also may be in us." John 17:20
It's a bit difficult for us to grasp....however, the Greek term "energeia" predated the New Testament for centuries, and back then the people understood basically what it signified.
St Gregory Palamas is the saint most associated with the theology of the energies of God.
Anyhow, hope this helps a bit---
From: solascriptura1971 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, November 28, 2008 2:48:20 AM
Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Relationship of Free-will, Energies, and the Means of Grace
Randy et al,
Thanks, yep, I'm lacking in biblical Greek. That is interesting
about the word occuring in the New Testament.
I was just reading an article
(http://www.orthodox info.com/ inquirers/ non-orthodox_ ch2.pdf) where
it discusses this in more detail. In it he has a quote from (yes,
you guessed it) St. John Chrysostom:
"If He "lighteth every man that cometh into the world," how is it
that so many continue
unenlightened? For not all have known the majesty of Christ. How
then doth He "light
every man"? He lighteth all as far as in Him lies. But if some,
willfully closing the eyes
of their mind, would not receive the rays of that Light, their
darkness arises not from the
nature of the Light, but from their own wickedness, who willfully
deprive themselves of
the gift. For the grace is shed forth upon all, turning itself back
neither from Jew, nor Greek,
nor Barbarian, nor Scythian, nor free, nor bond, nor male, nor
female, nor old, nor
young, but admitting all alike, and inviting with an equal regard.
And those who are
not willing to enjoy this gift, ought in justice to impute their
blindness to themselves; for
if when the gate is opened to all, and there is none to hinder, any
being willfully evil
remain without, they perish through none other, but only through
Someone mentioned to me earlier on this board that the problem I'm
having may be that I don't understand the difference between East
and West with respect to the Uncreated Energy (grace) of God acting
everywhere. Anyways, this article reminded me of that. I guess I
need to bear that in mind.
Also, another side issue popped up reading that quote from St. John
above. He makes it sound as if the means of grace, the Word and
Sacraments, are not necessary in order for one to come to salvation.
Is this true? If so, how does this relate to Romans 10 where St.
Paul appears to state that it is necessary for one to encounter/hear
the Gospel message in order to be saved?
Thanks a lot for your help.
We had a good Thanksgiving and hope you and your family did as well.
--- In LutheransLookingEas t@yahoogroups. com, randall hay
<stortford@. ..> wrote:
>by the apostles. I don't know what your knowledge is of biblical
> Bobby, I feel constrained to point out that "synergy" is commanded
Greek, but "syn" means 'with' and "ergon" means 'work.' I Cor
3:9: "we are God's synergists." 2 Cor 6:1: "synergizing with Him,
we beseech you not to accept the grace of God in vain." St Paul
lauds Timothy, in fact, as "synergist of God" in I Thes 3:2.
>means He damns many people by not saving them. This is not the God
> If we are saved without any movement of the will toward God, it
>fault for sinning because we couldn't help it. This is not the God
> And if our wills are completely helpless, then we're not really at
>image....everything created by Him is not good (which doesn't jibe
> And if we are helpless in the face of sin, we aren't really in His
with I Tim 4:4). This is not the good Creator!
>because "seeing they don't see." They are at fault. God gave us
> In the Parable of the Sower, we see that humans reject the Gospel
eyes; the problem is that we don't see with them.
>wonderful Thanksgiving- ---
> At any rate, His blessings upon you, and I hope you have a
>[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> In Christ,